LONDON -- After five days of Olympic track and field, America's Team has enjoyed just two golden moments -- the triumphs of 400 meter runner Sanya Richards-Ross and pole vaulter Jennifer Suhr.
With the second place performances of Leonel Manzano, Dawn Harper and Erik Kynard at Olympic Stadium Tuesday night, silver is becoming the new gold and 1,500-meter runner Manzano, 100 hurdler Harper and high jumper Kynard did the mining.
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No American has won the Olympic 1,500 since Mel Sheppard in 1908. Now the Mexico-born, University of Texas-trained Manzano becomes the fifth U.S. man to run off with silver -- following in the historic footsteps of Abel Kiviat (1912), Glenn Cunningham (1936), Bob McMillen (1952) and Jim Ryun (1968.)
Winner Taouflik Makhloufi of Algeria, running on a left leg he thinks will soon need surgery, made the most of two twists of fate.
First, he was reinstated to the field after initial banishment from the Games following his perceived lack of serious effort in the 800 qualifying round. Second, he found a fortuitous place at the front and once there was never to be headed. He thus had a clear path to victory in a strategic 3:34.08.
Manzano's desperation drive from far back got him over the line in 3:34.79 as Morocco's Abdalaati Iguider (3:35.13) barely outleaned America's Matthew Centrowitz (3:35.17) for the bronze.
Makhloufi called his reinstatement a form of divine intervention -- "it was the will of God; yesterday I was out, today I was in."
"Man, I love London," Manzano said. "I've worked so hard for this moment; I'm very proud, it's like hysteria."
Centrowitz -- whose dad, Matt, was a New York City track legend at Power Memorial Academy and then a two-time USA 5,000 Olympian -- ran a gutsy, up-front race much of the way, but ran out of running room in a late rush down the stretch.
"I never wanted to hang back and just try to pick people off from the back," Centrowitz said.
Australia's Sally Pearson was the favorite in the women's 100 hurdles. She led all the way to win in an Olympic-record 12.35. The USA went 2-3-4 with Dawn Harper (12.37), Kellie Wells (12.48) and Lolo Jones (12.58.)
Jones found it hard to keep her composure, "I hit the first four hurdles," she said. "I still ran my season's best time, but obviously I am crushed."